Scientific American - Email Summaries by Jevan Pipitone

  1. (2018dec4) Scientist Who Edited Babies' Genomes Faces Widespread Criticism He edited 30 embryos using CRISPR/Cas9 to delete both copies of the CCR5 gene. CCR5 is naturally absent in about 1 percent of Europeans, leaving them essentially immune to HIV. The girls' father has HIV. However, lacking CCR5 also makes people more vulnerable to severe reactions or even death from other viruses, potentially including the flu, which is far more common than HIV. "The global scientific community decided back in 2015, when CRISPR editing of human genes first became feasible, that gene editing should begin by addressing hereditary diseases, such as sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis. Both cause tremendous suffering, are difficult to treat effectively, and in rare cases are certain to be passed to any biological children, says Harvard Medical School Dean George Daley, a stem cell scientist. CCR5 was not a high-priority gene to edit, he says, because there are other ways to effectively prevent and treat HIV."
  2. (2018dec4) Why Do We Put Telescopes in Space? "In the next decade, NASA plans to launch the James Webb Space Telescope, the next generation Hubble and Spitzer, which will orbit the Sun.". "The main reason we put telescopes into space is to get around the Earth's atmosphere so that we can get a clearer view of the planets, stars, and galaxies that we are studying."

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6 December 2018

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